CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — Silver Spring Township and two of its police officers, Christopher Butler and Joseph Craven, filed a motion Friday to dismiss a lawsuit that was filed by a Palmyra couple in July.
The lawsuit alleges that the township, and Officers Butler and Craven, violated the fourth and fourteenth amendment rights of Kevin and Christina Kurtz on May 11.
The couple said in the lawsuit they left a grocery store on Carlisle Pike as their 11-year-old daughter was having back spasms and was in need of returning to her chiropractor whom she just saw less than an hour before they arrived to go shopping.
Kevin Kurtz drove through the grocery store’s parking lot and began to exit the vehicle when it was surrounded by three police cars.
The officers advised that they stopped the vehicle because “someone” reported that Kevin Kurtz had hit his daughter in the parking lot — he immediately denied the allegations, according to the lawsuit.
From there, Kevin and Christina Kurtz were allegedly separated from their daughter, who remained inside the vehicle, for two hours as she was having muscle spasms.
It’s alleged that the officers intimidated the Kurtz’s and accused the of “hiding the truth” about the reported incident.
At one point, the lawsuit alleges that an officer got into the back seat of the vehicle with the Kurtz’s daughter and with the doors and windows allegedly closed, pressured her to admit that one of her parents hit her; she insisted they didn’t.
The girl told the officer that she was in pain and needed to return to the chiropractor’s office, which is when the officer allegedly pressed her back and neck and then put his hand under and over her shirt, which caused pain to her. Doing so also caused the Kurtz’s daughter embarrassment and humiliation.
After almost two hours, the couple and their daughter were released without explanation or documentation, the lawsuit claims.
The violations the family alleges include false arrest, infliction of emotional distress, and battery.
In response, the township and its officers advise that the police department cannot be subject in the suit because its not a “person,” and that there was probable cause for the incident: the report that Kevin Kurtz had hit his daughter.